Self-salvation and then saving the others

Taejun
1 min readDec 7, 2018

There’s a Japanese proverb saying “Look after yourself first and then help the others (克己利他)”, which simply means that only those who can manage their life can help the others. We can donate money only when we can afford it. We can help someone who is about to fall down from a cliff only when we are strong enough not to fall down.

However, I feel like many people may be understanding this proverb in a physical sense only. When it comes to mentality, I often come across people who want to help someone overcome mental challenges though they have not salvaged themselves from similar issues/trauma. A typical example is self-esteem. Many of those who have an issue in their self-esteem engage in the job to help the others. They may be trying to find out a solace in helping the others.

I’m 100% sure that one can’t overcome one’s own mental trauma by helping the others who have similar challenges. What s/he has to do is simple — face up to oneself, though that requires a huge courage. Not easy, but there is no other way. Otherwise we end up with mentally depending on the others, permanently.

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